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Former President Donald Trump speaks as House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., listens during a April 12, 2024, news conference at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP) Former President Donald Trump speaks as House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., listens during a April 12, 2024, news conference at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks as House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., listens during a April 12, 2024, news conference at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson April 12, 2024

Seeking to present a unified Republican front, former President Donald Trump and embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, to tout several issues the GOP sees as key in the 2024 election, including voting laws and immigration.

Johnson focused his remarks on forthcoming legislation to require proof of citizenship to register to vote. This push comes on top of existing efforts by the party to prevent noncitizens from voting, which is already illegal under existing law

In a televised press conference after Trump’s and Johnson’s remarks April 12, Trump made several false or misleading comments. Here are a few of them.

"Venezuela announced that their crime is down 67% because of the fact that they've taken the gang members, the leaders and the members and they've deposited them very nicely into the United States of America."

This is False

Although Venezuelan government data is unreliable, some available data from independent organizations shows that violent deaths have recently decreased, though not by 67%. From 2022 to 2023, violent deaths dropped by 25%, according to the independent Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. 

However, criminologists told PolitiFact that the reason for the drop is not immigration to the United States. 

Violent deaths have dropped because of Venezuela’s poor economy, and the government’s extrajudicial killings, experts say. So many people have left Venezuela that criminals have fewer people to assault, too. The experts say there is no evidence that the Maduro government is emptying its prisons and sending criminals to the United States.

Democrats are in favor of an "execution of a baby after birth. And you can say what you want, but that's extreme."

This is False.

Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric exaggerates by saying the party supports killing an unwanted infant after birth. That would be infanticide and is illegal in every state, and mainstream Democrats do not support this.

Situations resulting in a fetal death in the third trimester are rare, and involve emergencies such as fetal anomalies or life-threatening medical emergencies affecting the mother. Babies that are delivered are not killed.

For fetuses with very short life expectancies, doctors may induce labor and offer palliative care to make the newborn as comfortable as possible. Some families choose this option when facing diagnoses that limit their babies’ postbirth survival to just minutes or days after delivery, reproductive health experts said.

At the press conference, Trump called back to a controversy from 2019. In 2019, Trump said that Virginia’s then-governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, "stated that he would even allow a newborn baby to come out into the world and wrap the baby, and make the baby comfortable, and then talk to the mother and talk to the father and then execute the baby. Execute the baby."

We ruled at the time that Trump was putting words in Northam’s mouth and rated it False. Northam, a physician, never said he would sanction the execution of newborns. He said during a radio interview that in rare, late-pregnancy cases when fetuses are nonviable, doctors deliver the baby, keep it comfortable, resuscitate it if the mother wishes and then have a "discussion" with the mother.

"The Biden administration … actually took the top guy, one of the top guys (from the Justice Department) and put them into the (Manhattan District Attorney’s) office to run" the Trump’s prosecution.

There is no evidence that the Biden administration has been colluding with the Manhattan DA’s office to prosecute Trump.

Trump is referring to one of Bragg’s prosecutors, Matthew Colangelo, who formerly worked for the Justice Department and the New York attorney general. 

While working for the New York attorney general, Colangelo investigated the Trump Foundation and led lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Some legal experts told PolitiFact that Bragg could have avoided controversy by not hiring Colangelo, but they agreed that his hiring does not signal that the White House or campaign officials coordinated with the district attorney’s office.

"Why would it be strange or suspicious for a prosecutor to hire another prosecutor with a New York license and experience working on complex prosecutorial matters?" said Matthew J. Galluzzo, who worked as a Manhattan prosecutor before Bragg’s tenure and is now in private practice. "Most federal prosecutors in this country have worked under both Democratic and Republican administrations."

President Joe Biden in his classified documents case "gets off scot-free and I'm still fighting that trial."

An independent special counsel, Robert Hur, investigated Biden’s retention of documents from his vice presidency and declined to press charges, though he criticized some of Biden’s document-handling practices.

Trump is in a different situation; he was indicted in June 2023 on about three dozen counts, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. 

Hur’s report drew several distinctions between his Biden investigation and Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of Trump’s handling of classified documents. 

Hur wrote in his report that Biden cooperated with the investigation by turning in documents to the National Archives and Justice Department, consenting to property searches, and sitting for an interview, while Trump thwarted federal efforts to retrieve documents. 

Hur wrote that according to Trump’s indictment, the former president "not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it."

"Trump’s indictment alleges a pattern of deliberate and willful behavior and lying to federal investigators that Hur does not find in the Biden investigation," Joan Meyer, who has worked as a federal and local level prosecutor and is now a partner at the law firm Thompson Hine LLP, told PolitiFact at the time. 

PolitiFact Senior Correspondent Amy Sherman and Staff Writers Maria Ramirez Uribe and Samantha Putterman contributed to this report.

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